As we entered our hotel, arms full of shopping bags, we tried to act nonchalant. We didn’t want to draw attention to Kathy’s shoeless situation. For those who didn’t read my last blog, let me catch you up. After shopping in London, we caught the tube (train) back to Kew village. As we were boarding the train, I hit the back of Kathy’s shoe with my foot and it pulled her shoe off which fell below the train tracks. She had to walk three blocks from the station to our hotel with one shoe on and one off and both arms full of shopping bags.
We made it up the three flights of stairs without anyone noticing. We entered our room, still laughing at the absurd situation. We both dropped our many bags onto our beds. Kathy quickly pulled off her sock to rub her sore foot. We were finally home safe without any further complications. In spite of the lost shoe, we considered it to be a successful day. We had done a few “firsts”
-Riding the tube through the villages in London
– Visiting famous Piccadilly Square
– Touching the gates of Buckingham Palace and viewing the guards
– Shopping in downtown London
It was now time to pack and prepare for our return flight back to Maine in the morning. As we started folding our clothes and checking the drawers, we both suddenly realized that we now had a major problem, too much stuff and not enough space in our suitcases. It was time to get creative. We each had two suitcases and a carry on, so we moved things around from one bag to another. That didn’t work. We tried rolling our clothes to make more room. I somehow got all my things squished into my luggage; however, Kathy didn’t have that luck. There was no way around it, she needed another bag.
So off we went to a shopping plaza that we passed so many times along our walk to the National Achieves. We found a store within the plaza that sold luggage. Kathy picked out a bag that she felt would hold her new treasures. I even think we ended up buying something else from that store (what can I say, we love to shop). Now it was back to the hotel to finish packing.
After everything was securely packed, we decided to have one last dinner in the pub. There was a good crowd of people in the pub as we entered, and fortunately, we found two empty seats at the bar. We immediately ordered two pints and menus. I wanted to take in every last second of that evening, as I didn’t know if I would ever get the opportunity to visit again. I scanned the room and felt the good vibes coming from the patrons. It seemed everyone was in a great mood as there was a lot of chatter and laughter. Though we were both tired from such a long day, we somehow got a spurt of energy. Kathy and I reminisced about our day and all the great finds we now owned. How she was thankful her missing shoe was not one of her favorite pair. We only planned on staying through dinner, somehow, time just slipped away. We ended up heading to our room around 11 pm. It didn’t take long for us both to wash up and fall fast asleep.
Since we were flying international, we knew we had to be at the airport much earlier than most travelers. We had a quick cup of coffee (tea for Kathy) and called a taxi. We climbed the three flights of stairs for our last time. On the way down, trying to maneuver our many suitcases on the narrow stairwell, we figured we must have lost some weight over this past week. How many times had we climbed up and down those stairs? We made a note to weigh ourselves when we reached home to see who lost the most.
We got to the airport with plenty of time to kill. It was a task to get our baggage to check in, but we did it. We both still had a good size carry on with us as we made our way to our gate. When we reached the gate, I was surprised that no one was there, but it was still a bit early. We settled in some seats and both took out books . We read for quite some time before Kathy noticed there still weren’t any other people there. We checked our boarding pass to confirm we were in the right gate. All seemed well. I decided to close my eyes for a bit and I quickly fell asleep. Not too long after, Kathy touched my shoulder and woke me. She said she just had a strong feeling that we were not in the right place. I tried to assure her that our ticket stated we were, however, Kathy has great intuition instincts and hers wouldn’t stop nagging her. She decided she would go down the hall a ways to check the board. Within minutes she was back and I knew there was something up. She was right; we were not at the correct gate. I believe our tickets were incorrect as the board stated a different gate. And wouldn’t you know, it was entirely across the airport. We had 10 minutes to get there and board the plane. Just like you see in the movies, off we went running with bags in tow. Kathy was a ways ahead of me, dodging people while checking for the right gate. It seemed like we had been running forever and I was getting out of breath. As we rounded the corner towards my gate, I told Kathy to go ahead of me and let them know I was on my way. I saw ahead that there were a couple flight attendants at our gate and seemed to be waving us on. By the time I got there, Kathy was boarding the plane. While they checked my ticket (and I caught my breath) they explained they were holding up the plane for us. They knew since we checked our luggage we were somewhere in the building. I thanked them for waiting on us and made my way to my seat. I was getting some ugly stares from some of the passengers, but hey, what are you gonna do?
As I put my bag in the overhead compartment and took my seat next to Kathy, we both took a deep breath and of course, bust out laughing. As we taxied down the runway, headed back to the states, I was anxious to get home and hear what had been happening on the M/V Sea Hunter. But, I could honestly say that this was one of my very top favorite trips ever!